In the Ladies Class of Southside Church of Christ I had just told the story made famous by Vietnam War POW Charlie Plumb called “WHO PACKED YOUR PARACHUTE?”
Captain Plumb’s bomber was shot down by the North Vietnamese after the 24 year old fighter pilot had already flown 74 bombing missions over the enemy. Plumb spent a horrifying 6 years as a POW in an 8-foot by 8-foot cell.
Charlie Plumb survived and became a successful motivational speaker all across the nation. His best known story was about his encounter in a Kansas City restaurant years after the War with a gentleman from a nearby table that came up and introduced himself as the sailor who had packed the fighter pilot’s parachute. Plumb was elated to meet the anonymous sailor who in the bowels of the USS KITTYHAWK had meticulously packed the chute that saved his life. Plumb goes on to ask the question to his audiences “WHO PACKED YOUR PARACHUTE?” Just think about the mentors, educators, ministers, friends and family who have helped shape us! Then express your appreciation.
After that story, Chloe Carter quietly spoke up and said that when she was 13 years old, Chris Sawyer had packed her parachute.
After class she told me the story that as a young teen her family did not attend church regularly. However, Chloe would get rides to the Oak Cliff Church of Christ in Dallas where the dynamic Wyatt Sawyer worked with the young folks. She loved going to the girls’ class taught by young and energetic Chris Sawyer. Chris infused her with joy and enthusiasm for serving Christ. “CHRIS PACKED MY PARACHUTE….” And our minds reel as we think about the hundreds and hundreds of teens and women that Chloe herself has taught at churches, mission sites, transitional housing units and prisons over the last seven decades.
But you see in 1950 there was this vibrant young preacher’s wife, full of the Holy Spirit and concern for
others, who packed parachutes….